A RARE species of insect has been spotted at Kinver Edge where the National Trust has been carrying out work to restore a former heathland landscape.

Sightings of Black Oil Beetle have been reported at the beauty spot, managed by the trust.

The charity has been busy creating a diverse landscape of rare, lowland heathland to support nature and wildlife – with rangers cutting back vegetation and grazing livestock to control invasive plants and keep bracken, scrub and woodland at bay.

National Trust lead ranger Ewan Chapman said: “I was so excited to see evidence of the Black Oil Beetle on Kinver Edge. These insects make their home in sandy soils by digging nest burrows into bare earth, which is a key characteristic of heathland habitats.

“The discovery of the beetle is regionally significant, as well as being a good indicator that our work to restore the heath on Kinver Edge is really paying off.

“We are now hoping to restore an area of conifer plantation, which was previously an area of open habitat, on the Worcestershire side of Kinver Edge in Blakeshall Common.

“This phase of work will help us stop the extinction of rare species on the site and hopefully attract wildlife back to the heathland habitats we're planning to restore. “Seeing these species emerge in the area restored back in 2014 is a visual reminder of the reasons why we’re saving this important habitat and the wildlife that call it home.”

Andy Perry, National Trust conservation advisor, added: “Oil beetles are great indicators of good quality habitat.

“They have become rarer in the wider countryside as key habitats such as heathland and wildflower meadows have been lost, and so the discovery of Black Oil Beetle at Kinver is testimony to the quality of habitat and health of wild bees at the site.”